Thursday, January 29, 2015

Another Visit to a Tile Shop

I'm a little conflicted about this post. Marc and I went to a tile shop together a few days ago. We saw beautiful tile, but we got a weird vibe from the person who helped us (not the owner). It was a condescending vibe that didn't sit right with either of us. I was startled because I've never encountered anything like this in our town.

I'm trying to decide if the person was just having a bad day, in which case we could go back to try again. On the other hand, we know we like the tile shop in Richmond and there isn't exactly a marble monopoly that would make us use the local place.

There were a few times when I almost turned on my heel and walked out of the store, but I stayed and kept looking. Maybe part of me felt like I had to prove that I belonged there, looking at expensive marble mosaics. Maybe part of me just wanted to take pictures of all the pretty tile for the blog...or take pictures to show to the nice people at that tile store in Richmond.

Anyway, here are pictures of pretty tiles and some notes about what we saw.

This was our favorite section. We love mosaics and couldn't really pick a favorite. Do you see the patterned tiles on the middle row? Those are screen printed! They aren't even all that expensive compared to the traditional mosaics.

Here are a few more styles:

This sink isn't our style, but we thought it was so interesting!


Some of the mosaics we really liked were a little pricey, but these would only be for the shower floor and that's not a massive space.

We've all seen hex a thousand times, but it's always fun to see the different sizes. I personally like larger hex tiles over the minis.

There was a point when the tile guy seemed to warm up to us a little bit and showed us this awesome floral. It had ming green accents, which weren't example what I was thinking of for the basement bathroom, but it looked great against almost every marble in the store.

Of course, we gravitated towards beautiful basketweave again.

I took a picture of this tile because it reminded me of Burberry's signature plaid. 

They had one corner that reminded us of the condo bathroom. The tile guy said that putting marble subway up the wall like wainscoting would make the room feel tiny. What do you think? 

We both really liked the floor tile they used in this corner. I'm not crazy about some of the tiles that are made to look like wood, but I feel like this one is actually pretty and interesting (especially in this "shade" color).

I still don't feel like I know exactly what we are doing with the bathroom, but I'm going to start looking at other details to see if they help me narrow down the tile options. 
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Spy: "Junk Shop" Chairs at the Inn at Little Washington

Better Homes and Gardens has been worrying me lately. The issues seem thinner than ever. So I subscribe, hoping my $10 will help them hold on. I remember the period when one magazine folded after another and would hate to see yet another shelter magazine with a long history go away.

No matter what you think of BGH, you have to acknowledge that it's one of the magazines you've flipped through for decades. I personally like the magazine. It's accessible and they feature loads of bloggers. I think that's nice.

The January issue includes this feature, photographed by David Tsay, whose agency is the only source for images of it. If you don't remember the title page, I bet you'll remember the 2nd, which shows the laundry nook that's tucked into a couple's master bedroom.

Or maybe the kitchen that has chalkboard paint on the walls. There's an obsessive-compulsive inside me that cringes at the idea of airborne chalk dust in a room where food is being prepared, but it's a sweet photo of a father and daughter baking.

The image on the left side of this page is what had my interior design Spidey senses going off.

Those chairs. I know those chairs. But where do I know them from? The caption says:

Merrill scored these dining chairs at a junk shop and refurbished them with a fresh white paint and cushions covered in Duralee fabric.

After thinking about it for a while, I remember where I've seen those chairs before. They are in the Presidential Cottage, which is also called Clairborne House, at the gorgeous [and expensive] Inn at Little Washington.

The cottage, and the rest of the property, where designed by Joyce Evans, a set designer from London. She designed the interiors without traveling to the states. See more from the property on the Decor Arts Now blog.

Do you like the chairs painted or with their original finish?
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Few Studio Updates

If I'm not doing work for my academic job, I'm working in my studio. When we first moved in, we called it "the office," but this is a creative space and "studio" feels more appropriate to me. Maybe I also fear that it would be depressing to be in an "office" for almost every waking hour of the day and the word "studio" hints at the work that goes on in here being enjoyable.

Though we plan to redo the floors and remove the baseboard heater down the line, I'm a window treatment and a light fixture away from calling the studio done.

Last time I shared this space, I had found a table for my sewing/embroidery machine and laptop. I've since added an adjustable height stool so I can sit when I work on embroidery designs and monogram layouts. I looked at so many stools that had adjustable height seats, but some were a bit too heavy on metal and others had legs that spread out quite wide. I finally found this stool on some random home website, but ultimately got it for a great price on I have never had success with Overstock and this order wasn't perfect. There's a spot where the stool is dented, but it's only noticeable if you look really closely, so I'm going to keep it.

I had been keeping all of my thread on my sewing table, but my collection has grown so much that spools were lined up on the window sill. Sunlight can't fade thread over time, so this wasn't ideal. A lot of the thread racks out there are kind of ugly. Many embroidery pros use peg boards to hang their threads and hoops, but I didn't like the look. I also use a kind of spool called a mini-king. It's larger than the thread you buy for regular sewing, but not as big as what you'd use with an industrial machine.

I found some great looking thread racks on the Home Decorator's website (under the same Martha Stewart craft line as my sewing table and desk). One of the comments specifically mentioned my kind of thread spool as fitting on the rack, so I ordered two. I LOVE being able to see all of my pretty threads at once. It makes picking colors so much easier!

My desk is on the opposite side of the room and I have to admit that I haven't spent much time making this area pretty. In fact, I relocated my paint brush vase and candle to the desk because it was so blank over there.

One of my pet peeves at work is that my desk is so old that the middle is too narrow to actually tuck a modern office chair under the desk. I hate that my chair doesn't tuck under my desk in the studio, either. This is definitely a temporary situation. I'll get some more of those pictures stacked under the desk hung at some point. 

There's a topic about which very few people in the embroidery world talk: how much time we spend ironing. It might be odd to have an ironing board in a picture, but it is a permanent fixture in an embroidery studio. If you follow me on instagram, you've seen my ironing board in almost every picture of embroidered items that I've shared!

I love that I have some pretty pictures at which to look while I do my ironing and starching.

When the window valance I ordered arrives, I'll take some better pictures and have the first room to add to our "house tour" page, which currently just features the condo we sold in 2013.
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Trend Talks by Genevieve Gorder and Christiane Lemieux

I'm not a big Apartment Therapy reader these days, but I stumbled upon a series of presentations they called Maker Talks in which design professionals talked about trends and design styles that they'd like to see go by the wayside and ones they think will be "in" for 2015.

Up first, Genevieve Gorder. She swears once or twice, so be careful if you hit play while children or colleagues are around.

I love this woman. She is kind, but opinionated. Laid back, but firm in her design convictions.

Next is Christiane Lemieux, founder of DwellStudio. She talks a lot about what influences she sees in fashion, which will affect furniture and interiors. Talk about well-researched! This woman backs up her ideas so well. This talk is the antithesis of that blog posts that annoyed me so much the other day.

Lastly, here's Andrew Corrie of Canvas Home. Andrew's talk is centered around the idea of authenticity. At first, I thought "wishful thinking." However, as he explained this, I found myself nodding in agreement. Authenticity IS in. Perhaps this means some of the image crafting people do is out? Less talking about the fabulous life on Instagram and more showing your tangible skills?

While I'm not running out to buy fur or mid-century pieces from Brazil, I enjoyed these three talks.
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bathroom Remodel Prepations: Picking a Faucet

We hope to renovate one of our bathrooms this year. I'm gathering materials slowly, just as I did when we renovated our bathroom in our little condo. I think that the slow acquisition allowed me to pick things I truly loved instead of being overly influenced by the total cost of the project. I made a Google doc for the project and listed out every component that we need to purchase. I'm going to slowly make my way down the list and the bathroom will come together as I make selections. I might have to revisit a few here and there, but I think the idea of methodically working through the list will be good for my style.

When we shopped for tile, we liked tile that was very similar to the tile we used in our condo bathroom. After tile, I think fixtures are important details to settle. I loved the Kohler Memoirs Stately faucet and shower fixtures we used in the condo, but I wanted something a little softer for this downstairs bathroom. The first faucet that caught my attention was Kohler's Pinstripe.


I love the shape of the drain pull and the etched "H" and "C" on the handles. The shape is elegant, but still substantial. The list price on the Kohler website was $783, but there are plumbing supply stores online that have it for $587. That still seems expensive, but I haven't shopped for faucets in over five years.

I looked at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware and liked several of their faucets, but the one I liked best was over $1,000. Even with a discount code, that is more than I want to spend on the basement bathroom. I once read that Brasstech makes some fixtures for Restoration Hardware, so I did some searching and arrived at Brasstech's Newport Brass division. I loved their Miro faucet, which seemed like a cross between Pottery Barn's Covington faucet and Restoration Hardware's Asbury. The Miro has a list price of $699, but I found it for around $490 on the plumbing supply websites.

While walking through Lowes one day, I saw Moen's Boardwalk faucet and thought it was in the same world, design wise, as the others I had liked. Oddly, the Moen website lists the Boardwalk at $413, but Lowes is selling it for $139. That doesn't make sense, but I double checked that I was looking at the same finish.

Usually, I'd advocate for splurging on the item that is most liked (for me, that would be the Newport Brass Miro), but maybe that makes more sense for our master bathroom or the guest bathroom. Maybe for the basement bath, the Boardwalk (the $139 Lowes edition) makes more sense?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Home Decorating Trends for 2015 According to People on the Internet

I always read online articles about home trends with interest. For those of us who consume a lot of content about decorating and interiors, some of the "trends" reported amuse, baffle, or make us downright annoyed. I pulled together a few of the articles that raised my eyebrow and wrote my thoughts on them.

Do you have any of the "out" pieces? I have one or two and they aren't going anywhere.

1. Refinery29's "10 Home Trends that are OVER and The New Ones You Need"

I have to wonder if this list was pulled together just to highlight a few advertisers because there is no rhyme or reason to this one.

They pulled a few things that haven't been trending in YEARS like Keep Calm signs and chevron. The Keep Calm posters became popular in 2009 when Domino (the original magazine, not the catalog thing they are making now) published this:

Keep Calm was not a trend in 2014. Sorry, Refinery.

Do I have to address chevron? Not a trend.

The skulls, succulents, and the drapes seem random to me. Maybe they needed to place the "in" items for advertising reasons and stretched a little bit. I can buy into the fake pelts and deer heads being out, but for a certain set. Mason jars and succulents never seemed like trends in home decorating. They are just things that some people like? I don't remember a run on mason jars in 2014.

As for that stripped rug, bloggers went NUTS for it when Elle Decor published pictures of Nate Berkus's Chicago apartment in their September 2008 issue.

Remember this?

We all know Nate moved to New York to do his show soon after. Here's his living room from his New York apartment, which appeared in Architectural Digest in 2012:

2. House Beautiful's Design Trends that are Out for 2015

House Beautiful put their list together using comments from Facebook users, so I can't fault them for having some outdated things on the list.
I missed all the red and gold in 2014. Oops.
1. INSPIRATIONAL PHRASES: Our Facebook fan Annalisa Davis predicted that come 2015 we'll no longer see inspirational phrases and words like "Live, Laugh, Love" pop up in home decor.
2. CHEVRON: Several of our readers, including McGee Meredith and Lyn Hassinger Buerkett, have had enough of this pattern, which has been popular for a few years now.
3. MASON JARS: Thanks in part to Pinterest, mason jars have been steadily gaining popularity in home decorating, but our reader McGee Meredith can't wait for this trend to fall by the wayside. 
4. RED AND GOLD: According to our reader Luann Baade Trautman, you won't be seeing red and gold popping up in too many rooms in the new year.
5. ACCENT WALLS: Our Facebook fan Amy Christine Lesher says that accent walls will fall by the wayside in 2015, as the trend has not gotten better with age.
6. IKAT: This pattern seemed to be everywhere in 2014, but according to reader Lyn Hassinger Buerkett, you won't be seeing it in man new designs this coming year.
7. OVERLY TILED ROOMS: Our reader Diana Nappi is ready for people to stop using too much tile in their home designs.
 I still don't understand how anything thinks mason jars were trendy this year. Some people use mason jars. Those people will probably always use mason jars. They aren't trendy. There was a period (again, in 2008 or so) when mason jars and burlap were big in weddings.

 3. Yahoo DIY's Design Trends that are Dead in 2015

Remember Katie Brown? She was a mini-Martha who was on PBS for years. She's now Editor-in-Chief at Yahoo DIY and she thinks this stuff was big in 2014 and has to go.

1. Smocked Bedding
I can't recall this being a big thing in 2014. West Elm started making these duvet covers years ago. The look isn't really for me, but I think it's just great for some styles.

2. Tile and Marble Everywhere
Classic, not going anywhere. This one makes NO sense. Marble has been in kitchens and bathrooms for hundreds of years.

3.  ALL One Color ALL the Time
Monogramatic rooms are great, when done right. Just ask Lauren Leiss or Erin from House of Turquoise.
4. Indoor Hammocks
Where these a trend? Did they show up at Target or in countless blogs? I must have missed it.

5. Fake Canopy Beds
Beautiful and shouldn't be considered trendy.

6. Taxidermy

Taxidermy will always be standard in some homes, but agree that it's overdone in some. I live in hunt country and having a stuffed fox or deer might be seen as classic decorating.

7. Chalkboard Paint Walls
Agreed, but Benjamin Moore is promoting their new line of colorful chalkboard paint, so be prepared for some swooning over it.

8. Too many textures in one room

9. Painting just one "accent" wall

Accent walls aren't trendy. They're just something some people do.

10. Sentiment on Canvas

Agreed. A bit overdone.

4. Wall Street Journal's Top 5 Interior Design Trends for 2015

Someone finally interviewed some honest-to-goodness interior designers for a feature! I enjoyed reading this piece!

The list:
Mixed Metals
Moody Indigo
Painterly Rugs
Smoky Glass
Graphic Tiles 

Just for fun, you should check out interior designer Raina Cox's list of design trends that need a time out and her "Basic Nursery" post.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hanging Paintings Level (and a Wedding Donkey for the Studio!)

With the exception of when I hang my two John Matthew Moore art prints, I abandoned traditional picture hanging hardware a few years ago. I use Command Picture Hanging Strips for all of my smaller prints and photos these days. I no longer put holes in my walls and once the frames are up, they don't come down.

The tricky thing about using Command Strips is that you have to be pretty precise when you first bring the frame into contact with the wall. One sticky side of the strips goes on the wall for about 30 minutes before they are ready to hold the picture's weight, so you sandwich the two sides together on the back of the frame, push the frame up onto the wall, and then peel the frame off to give time for adhesion. After wasting a few strips, I started balancing my level on top of the frame while trying to bring it into contact with the wall. That was a little bit award, so I started taping my small level to the front of the frame so I could keep an eye on it more easily.

Maybe this isn't too exciting, but when Marc caught me doing it the other day, he seemed to think it was a novel idea. 

Do you like the little donkey? It's a wedding donkey by artist Caitlin McGauley. I love all animals, but I have genuine enthusiasm for donkeys, so I snapped this print up when it was offered for a limited time by Furbish Studio a few years ago.

By the way, did you know that donkeys serve as livestock guards these days? I pass two herds of cattle on my way to work everyday and each has a donkey. I was so curious about the donkeys being in the fields that I did a little research. Apparently, donkeys aren't fans of many of the animals that prey on cows and sheep, so people have added a donkey to their herds to chase the pests away.
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Monday, January 12, 2015

From the Hoop: Clothing Edition

I haven't shared any embroidery projects since August! I post fairly regularly on my Beloved Thread page on Facebook and on my Instagram account, so perhaps that's why I feel like I'm shared everything!

I have so much to share that I'm breaking things up into parts. First up, here are some of the clothes and accessories that I embroidered recently. If you had told me a year ago that I'd be stitching almost every night after work, I wouldn't have believed you.

Monogrammed Quilted Vests

I was intimidated at first by the idea of embroidering puffy vests, but once I did one, I couldn't stop! My first vest was for a friend who agreed to lead a Girl Scout group. She wanted something to layer over her uniform that was a little special, so I designed a monogram with her troop's info on it. She liked it so much that she ordered one for her co-leader.

After I posted a picture of the Girl Scout vests in instagram, I got several inquiries about doing more. Old Navy didn't seem to anticipate the demand for these cute vests, but a few more came in.

This last vest was for a little girl and the front panels were too narrow to hold a three-inch monogram. Instead of shrinking the monogram to fit, I put it that big, pretty monogram on the back so it would be between the girl's shoulder blades. I love how it turned out!

Monogrammed Scarves and Pashminas

My first wedding party order made me so excited. A bride had me monogram six delicate, gauzy pashminas for her bridesmaids. My love of weddings (and the extremely lightweight fabric) made me a little nervous about this project, but they looked beautiful in the end.

These plaid blanket scarves (that's what some people are calling these very large scarves) are so pretty monogrammed!

Monogrammed Pajamas Pants and Seersucker Shorts

I don't know why, but these were some of my favorites from the end of the summer. I love how monograms look against patterns!

Monogrammed Children's Shirts

Some people who do embroidery specialize in children's items. I am not one of those people. The tiny, little shirts are hard to hoop and I always worry that the recipient will think the gift of clothing is lame. Happily, the mother of the little boy who got the "E" shirt said he loved it!

The little boy who got this eagle shirt was my nephew and I was so happy when he put it right on after opening it.

Monogrammed Athletic Shirts

I love the idea of athletes wearing their monograms on running shirts and jackets. I hope this becomes of full out trend!

Monogrammed Wedding Gown Label

This is my favorite of all. This is my first monogrammed wedding dress label. My first one was simple - square, satin, bright blue. I have started to do shapes and have loaded up on light blue thread for next wedding season. I can't wait to do more labels!

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